Infographic: How the New Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Stacks Up

Article written: 25 May , 2011
Updated: 18 Jan , 2016

Thanks to and the Tech Media Network for sharing this great graphic showing NASA’s “new” MPCV and how it compares with other human spaceflight vehicles.

See how NASA's new Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, based on the Orion capsule, stacks up against other crewed spaceships in this infographic.

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13 Responses

  1. So this new, slightly smaller Orion requires two solids and a hydrogen/oxygen core to launch? and the original Orion required a five segment solid? what the hell are we doing???

    • Tom says

      Moving forward. Think of this as a launch/re-entry vehicle. Like the illustration shows, they will attach a module as the actual living space for the mission.
      They are probably giving up on the solid booster because of the vibration issues everyone was talking about.

      • Anonymous says

        If they do, it’ll be because somebody finally got the hint that an adequate launcher (Delta IV Heavy) already exists. Ares-I was unnecessary.

      • Torbjörn Larsson says

        No, Ares-1 was necessary for the political pork shop.

      • The Delta IV Heavy could certainly lift it. I think the Falcon 9 Heavy could as well. I’m not aware of any real plans to do either.

  2. Anonymous says

    This thing looks like a nightmare! Who would want to be stuck inside of this for three weeks?

    • squidgeny says

      If it meant being the first man on an asteroid I’d happily spend three weeks in a dumpster – can you honestly say you wouldn’t? 😉

  3. Personally, I prefer the Space X dragon because of the integral abort system. Less moving parts = less chance for break-down.

    • SpaceX is doing a lot of things right. I believe Dragon will carry people into space long before Orion does.

      • Tony Lages says

        Agreed. What the private space sector is doing right, NASA is doing wrong. Whereas Elon Musk has a vision for now, NASA has a vision for 30+ years from now.

  4. Torbjörn Larsson says

    First reactions:

    – Ugh-lee!

    We have learned over and over again that beauty often means robust and functional, see Apollo (say). It started when NASA had to accept the military solid booster legacy for political purposes and, it seems, it will never end.

    As a comparison, today automatic crafts like the MERs and Curiosity are easily more beautiful than the manned crafts. This is wrong!

    – Why do you need a large engine on the MPCV, if you want to add a trans/hab module anyway? Compare with the Dragon minimalism.

    [The naive answer is that they actually want to go for the unoptimized shown dual capsule mission profile/keep the Moon landing capability. Saves time, which they have used up on too little funding/too lofty goals.

    NASA = “Not Another Shuttle sub-optimization. Alas…” ]

    – I can recognize the convenient large ISS (I believe) docking port on the Dragon/Shenzou crafts. The MPCV will need a special ISS port, and maybe reduce safety with slower emergency transfers & insulation between crafts.

    – The chinese have done a terrific job with the large, modular and still light Shenzou.

  5. Anonymous says

    I’ve seen a report titled “Initial Summary of Human Rated Delta IV Heavy Study” showing what (minimal) changes were needed for a D4 to exceed the performance of Ares 1 for human LRO missions using Orion.

    Should work great with the new CV.

  6. Anonymous says

    Is the hypothetical shuttle-derived heavy lift launch vehicle mentioned in the caption the Jupiter 120??

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